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Miner dies in rock fall




PHILLIP CHARLES NEWTON

PHILLIP CHARLES NEWTON

Funeral services were held Dec. 20 for a Thornton man who died last week in a mining accident in Letcher County.

Phillip Charles Newton, 34, died Dec. 16 at 11:55 p.m. after a roof collapsed and a large piece of rock fell on him.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says a 13-foot-long, 6-foot-deep piece of shale fell on Newton, a continuous mining machine operator for Sapphire Coal Company, in the Sandlick Two mine.

Letcher County Coroner Wallace Bolling Jr. said rescue workers tried to free Newton, but he did not survive the trauma.

The mine was shut down immediately following the accident, and officials will continue investigating what happened.

The son of Douglas Owens of Isom and the late Brenda Devon Mullins Newton Owens, he was married to Carla Marie Trost Newton.

Surviving in addition to his wife and father are four daughters, Katlain Nicole Newton, Kasandyra Devon Newton, Kimberly Ann Newton and Kyra Marie Halcomb, all of Thornton; his stepmother, Sue Owens; four brothers, James Newton of Winchester, Donnie Ray Newton and wife Lynn of Topmost, Byron Owens and wife Kasey of Vest, and Douglas Owens and wife Ruthie of Isom; three sisters, Debbie Sexton, Betty Mae Honeycutt and husband Glenn and Angela Howard, all of Pinetop; 10 nieces, five nephews and a great-niece.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Lena Mae Hensley and James Arthur and Lottie Mae Gibson Mullins.

Burial was in the Owens family cemetery at Vest.

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